After I graduated from UNR, I moved to the Bay Area. It was commonplace for me to work 40+ hours there, then head back to Reno on weekends for shows and portrait sessions with friends and bands I love.
Years later, I moved to Phoenix, Arizona. Thus ended my trips to Reno, right? Naw. I just kept on making the drive. It then became normal for me to work a full-time job here, then swindle or beg for time off to drive 5 hours to LA for some work, 7 up to the bay area for more, and then 3 more golden hours to my Biggest Little City.
So, needless to say, the scale of opportunity cost always tips away from drive-time towards time with loved ones and creating content for great bands.
There's also the rare occurrence when Reno comes to me.
Loud As Folk winter tour came through Tempe and stopped at Yucca Tap Room, a bar with a venue, attached to a pinball arcade, attached to another bar.
I saw food, so there's also a kitchen somewhere.
The show was disguised as a low-key showcase of three singer-songwriters slash multi-instrumentalists. It was actually one four-hour show that ended with a three-piece arrangement of their alt-punk-folk group Six Mile Station, which has featured up to 6 people.
Spike McGuire, Chris Fox and John Underwood have great talent and diverse skill sets. Spike started the show with upbeat baritone crooning. He was joined by Chris for a cover of Hagar's "Heavy Metal."
Chris, the man in a million bands, adds a punk flavor. He screamed his songs à la Fat Mike, and covered Operation Ivy. He elevates punk, a genre usually rooted in simplicity or straight-forwardness, with Spanish guitar skills, flashy solos and the occasional horn accompaniment by John.
Mr. Underwood is bizarrely talented. His performance cannot be fully encapsulated in words. So much of the weight and awe is experienced live. He loops himself playing every instrument you've heard of - guitar, bass, banjo, washboard, cymbals, trumpet, trombone, accordion and so forth. Once the song has reached it's peak, he delivers bouncy, gravely vocals on top. He's more sonically successful than plenty hard-working full bands.
The night ended with a full Six Mile Station set, complete with collaborative screams, a Spanish guitar opera and guitar/banjo solos in the round, transitioning between the three musicians seamlessly.
The audience was modest, but there were enough blindly intoxicated people for a full-sized venue. The spirit of Reno was alive.